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Lurking in the Dark is followed up by Frozen Up.
My name is Syi. I'm a lonely seventeen year old lady that takes on the appearance of both a human and a scarecrow. For years on end, people have picked on me for my appearance and trashed up my body on the days of Halloween, which is the only time I am allowed to be social. Recently, I escaped my home location from the center of town and stalked the streets in the shadows, waiting for a day where I can escape to my own home. Breaking through the defenses of the town will prove to be difficult, however. But for now...I sit alone, no help or anything, limited to myself and my little room for imagination...
I move along the streets, watching as the streets are searching for me to place me back to my origin location, ready to abuse and break me apart. I'm very nervous about this, but pretend to act cool and stealthy hide in the dark, waiting for others to pass by before moving again. I creep along my "home street", Fydrent Avenue, in the large and bustling city of Hynau, looking left and right for those who may try to attack from places that I cannot see on my own. At the street's very end, I hide in a trash can and look upon the city hall, where posters showing my body are placed, advertising me and rewarding my capture.
Now, you may be wondering, why would they need a scarecrow so badly? I hold a power within me that grants indefinite food and water, but that's nothing I want to preform for those who abuse me in return for good resources. As a permanent punishment, I am running away and knowing that without me, they'll die, thus them advertising me in papers and posters and rewarding my capture if done successfully.
Not ten minutes into spying, I felt the trash can I was in lifting up and being thrown into a garbage truck. I look out from it and watch as the dirty, disgusting city of Hynau passes over my head, then watch as the city goes behind me...more and more...until it's gone. I look at my wooden hands then realize that I'm free. I'm finally free. I jump out from the truck and land on what's supposed to be my feet, then roll down a hill into a forest, where I decided to make my home. But I noticed something wrong.
So, I am now free and outside the city, but to keep me alive, I needed to be kept alive with a special blue sugar...but it is manufactured and kept only in that city, so because I'm not there I do not have any way to survive out here and I will die. Worried, I try to get back to the city despite the troubles and horrors I will face there. I run and run along the road, trying to get back to my home grounds, but I have lost the energy and just stop there on the road, unable to move. Even worse, I happen to be in the road's middle, meaning that anything can shatter and destroy me.
After a few hours, I end up going to sleep, woken up finding my body cracked into two. Despite this, I was still alive, but found that a dark chain kept my body parts connected together. The chain seemed to have a mind of its own, speaking to me and insulting me for failing to take care of what was supposed to be myself. I demand it to place my body fully back together, but it says I must preform four tasks first. It proceeded to tell me which ones...
- It told me that I need to apologize to the people I left behind, despite their awful behavior towards me.
- It followed up by saying that I must explain my real feelings to the people in the city. This is difficult for me to preform as the people there are so sensitive that they will suicide upon being told something awful about them. The suicides leave chills in your heart that never leave...
- I need to break apart one of my legs so I can only have one to stand on.
- I must serve there for the rest of my life.
It promised to let me place my family back together after the third task, which I agreed to do. I regretted my decision, but I want my body to be one...not split into halves...I catch on to a truck speeding by and make my way back to the city, greeted by an angry mob.
I obeyed the chains' will and I apologized to the people, who responded immediately by slapping my behind with a stick, displaying their brutal and heartless attitude towards me. Despite my anger and hatred towards them, I put up with it and did not complain, in fear of only more "punishment". After my beating, I apologized to the people of the town, the town's youngest kids panicking and some of the adults suiciding on the floor, bringing fear to my heart. I wanted to flee this sight, but I was forced to sit upon my original ground and watch them forever...I break one of my legs, then implant myself into the ground, forcing the chains to put me together. However, one fatal mistake would end my existence and the world around me.
I sigh and watch as the vultures eat the humans - it's a disgusting sight actually - and cry to myself, wanting to escape this barren landscape, but am trapped by the one promise. No one would help me, no one cared for me...I received some blue sugar to keep me going to grow the crops but it never really helped. Inside me a dark laughter brews, but it is not that of my own soul, it is that of the chains' dark promise.
Eventually, daylight came, making me fall asleep as my job was unneeded at the moment. I dreamt of a young lady who came about and talked to me, reaching my soul and purpose as a person. She gave me a hug of warmth, then flew the two of us into the air...but that was all I could see of my dream as I was woken up with rocks, as the neighborhood kids would always do to me when I was having my alone time. With disgust and hate, I stay awake and watch over the town, trapped to the root.
At night, I was met by a squirrel, who prayed to me for a few nuts. Knowing that the animals hated me too, I refused. Its eyes grew ever round and pleaded with me just to spare it some as his family hated him and refused to share anything with him. Despite what my mind thought, I gave him five nuts, and told him to be thankful to the person who gave him them. Well, of course the squirrel took the nuts greedily and ran away, kicking me in the sole leg I had before doing so. At maximum frustration, I continue to watch over the land, completely angered and I wish I died back there rather than my body splitting into two separate functioning parts.
Burnt with anger, red with tears, I cry over the events happening now. I realized that I am a waste of space...I grow crops, only to be paid back by abuse. They don't want me to die, they just want to beat me up but continue to force me to do that one labor. No one wants to help me. Nobody loves or even likes me. My existence is hardly needed, and because of that I bring a hatchet from the floor and prepare to chop off my own head with it. Just as I reached my target mark, a bolt of lightning descended from the sky and shattered the hatchet before me. Bewildered, I look up into the sky and watch as an angel descends to the ground.
She walks over to me and asks for my name. Shocked that someone with a beautiful voice and wonderous attitude would ever speak to me, I introduced myself as Syi, Crop Guardian of Hynau. Giggling, she introduces herself as Hene, Goddess of Life. My heart beat a lot as her appearance meant that via suicide attempt I am alive forever, which I do not want. I plead for her not to let me live forever in this wasteland, but she giggles again and reveals a contract, saying that any suicide attempts I have in the future will invite me to her place for me to stay. I sign it immediately, as I hate this city and do not wish to live in it anymore and would find a new place nice.
Hene ascends into the sky, leaving me in the same spot I was in before. I wish she was of actual help, but I guess what I got was what I got and I have to accept that. I continue to let the crops grow, I try to keep the kids under control and I prevent floods and droughts from happening. Eventually, the people started liking me because I was acting nicer, and willingly stopped beating me up whenever something went wrong. Things went pretty well actually! Until I spoiled the next harvest because of their earlier beatings having limped me, angering them and returning them to their ways.
I attempt suicide again via using a rock, but was stopped in the same fashion as before; lighting bolt, then Hene. She takes me into the sky, hugging me close and ascending into the heavens into her own home. She placed me on a bed and told me to wait there while she went outside. I decided to take the time to think about my actions. What will happen to everyone below here? That was the most important question, honestly. Am I in good hands? Only I can answer that. She comes back in not too long later and welcomes me to the Rose Gardens, my new home...for now.
Hene led me into the living room of her house, which turned out to be a clean room with bookshelves lining the walls, ceiling open to sunshine and various decorations surrounding what seems to be the ceiling. She introduces herself fully; apparently she is a kind lady who prevents suicide and that type of thing, helping others stay safe and out of danger. Honestly, this sounded a bit fishy as she didn't stop the suicides that happened relatively not too long ago, but I decided to live with it.
I wandered about her home, curious about the bright colors that contrast so much from my original home's creepily dark ones, and how people act nice and generous to me rather than mean and inconsiderate. It all feels like a new vision to me...I could get used to this. I pick up a book from the bookshelf and take it to my new bedroom, reading the content inside. The book's name happens to be Split Personality, which seems to be about a young boy who has his mind split into several parts. As soon as I finished reading the prologue, a glass shatters, bringing my attention and leading me to the kitchen, where a disturbing sight meets me. Hene was standing in front of a dead body, whom she acts like "it was too late to try and protect". It really brought me out of my wits, but shrugged as if it were an accident and returned to reading.
I feel a mix of being comfortable and uncomfortable in her home. On one hand, Hene is nice and willing to help me if I'm in trouble, which is nice. She allows me in every room in the house besides "The Truth Room" and doesn't prevent me from doing anything. However, some mysterious events happen that she doesn't try to fix, which worries me honestly. Eventually, I confront her and ask if everything's all right, to which she replies with a yes. I place on a careless attitude and return to my bed and continue reading, but my heart was pumping loudly and quickly.
Midst in reading, however, I heard clattering among the floor. It didn't frighten me, but it got closer and closer to me and placed me on alarm. I started hearing loud breathing noises, causing me to place the covers over me and slump into my bed as far as possible. Two hands appear on the door, two glowing yellow eyes staring in my direction. It advances towards me, then zips the material off of me and places its face near mine, yelling a deep cry and chewing my face.
I panicked and woke up in the same bed, revealing that everything was all right. Hene was by my side, awkwardly giggling.
She asks me if I'm all right, I reply to her with a yes, although it wasn't true at all. She laughs instead of giggling, then playfully pinches my cheek, remarking that I'm "cute". It hardly was true, I don't find myself that pretty but to each their own, I guess. I get up from my bed and help myself to the sunshine, Hene interestingly following me and watching the sunrise. She whispers to me that she truly loves me, which sounded really weird in my head. She left, laughing, my cheeks glowing purple behind her back. I place my arms over the hand railing of the porch and wonder if my life has really changed for the better.
I descend the house and walk around the city the Rose Gardens were located in: Marsh Town. A lot of the people here proved to be friendly and almost as if automatically answered whatever I asked. They took me to locations I needed to get two and no one acted mean or anything. It honestly was a comfortable feeling. Something was off though...nobody threw rocks at me or anything. A lot of them looked familiar too, as if they came from that darn city I lived in...I couldn't quite put my finger on "why", though.
I lay back against a tree, generating crops for the Rose Gardens people to use because they're definitely worthy of them...or so I was led to think, anyway. They enjoyed my production and praised me and my skills, making me feel happy. Hene crowned me with flowers the third day of me being here, thinking it would add to my beauty. Interestingly, everything looked more happy and cheerful, and I started being positive more and grew to be a happy being.
More people are coming every day, more and more of them looking familiar, which is starting to scare me...where are these people coming from?
I decided to do a little bit of research about why familiar faces began showing up here in Marsh Town. I start off by viewing where most people "reincarnate" at: The Light Shrine. Some familiar faces pass down, then I smacked myself in the face out of embarrassment; without me, everyone in Hynau is dying, and Hene is doing nothing to fix that. I break back into her home and tell her about what she has done. She only laughs and tells me it's not a problem, bringing me to confusion. Hene is looking for more people to "please her", which worries me...is she letting others die for her own amusement?...afraid to ask more, I left.
I spent the rest of my day in the kitchen, reading up on recipes according to other people, but honestly I was thinking about who Hene really was. She was definitely not the Goddess of Life. She seems to be ignorant of deaths, and does not do the tasks she said she would do. I was too scared to ask, and just as I was going to plan against her, she popped into the room and took me forcibly to her own. She spent most of her time going around the room, before telling that she loved me. But it was more than the friendly way.
Honestly, that was scary and I fled her room, going to my bed and hiding under the covers, hoping to be out of her sight. I was going to sleep, but the metal clanging started up again, forcing me to duck under the bed. The lights flickered on and off rather ominously, and a hand dug under the bed and grabbed my wooden right arm, forcing me to scream for help, driving Hene in who makes the monster teleport away. I was half naked, half afraid, and her being there didn't make me feel any better. She gave a wicked smile, then picked me off of the floor and embraced me in a large hug, remarking that she'll make everything "feel better". As much as I struggled to get out of her grasp, she started dragging me down the hall to her room.
She set me on the bed, but I took the opportunity to jump outside and fling myself down the wall, not caring if I survived or not. She floated after me in a devilish way, hands outstretched for my arms. I jumped to the Light Shrine and went down to earth, passing through the bodies that have recently died. Hene grabbed on to my feet, but she could not take me away...I was indefinitely falling...what is going to happen now? All I know is that I hit her in the face, bringing dark light from her body, making her release her grip on me and plummeting me to the ground...
I landed face first into Hynau, right into where my roots were at first. I watched Hene as she descended from the sky, darkness overflowing her face and creating a shadow where it used to be. She continued to reach out for me, but I kept hitting her in the face, myself filled with rage and hatred for what she did to the people, starving them to death. What they did to me doesn't mean they have to be left to die...even if I want them to die they don't deserve it. She got angry and took my body, tearing off my clothes, forcing me towards her. This is no situation I want to be left in, so I slipped out of her grasp and struck her face with my arms, retreating into the distance. Her face comes off and reveals a red mass with pinkish blobs popping out from it, each one in the form of an eyeball. Her arms turn into bones along with her legs, her arms and legs turned into robotic gloves.
Grossed out, I madly climbed over the buildings, jumping from building to building to escape the supposed Life Goddess. I was eventually cornered by her and was about to die when I took the opportunity to slide under her and strike her underbelly, wounding her and allowing me to pass by. I leaped off the building we were on and retreated into the sewers, fortunately not found by Hene in the next five minutes. In relief, I travelled the sewers, chewing on blue sugar as the time came around, then was taken suddenly into a small room. Lights turned on, a girl around the age of fifteen gives the look of worry. She calmly asks for my name, which I immediately respond by refering to myself as Syi. She introduces herself as May, and asks for something the value of an apple. I give her an orange and calmly watch as she eats it, grateful for what I did. I asked why she pulled me into here, with no response really. I sigh and ask if there's any place in the world to escape, with her replying that I can stay there for a while.
I cover myself up with clothes that she lended to me, which took the pressure off of me appearing bare. We got to know each other a bit, but our time together did not last long as the ceiling fell apart, followed by Hene shouting that she found the two of us. She tears off what reminds of the sewers, forcing the two of us girls to run from her. Both of us dodge her hand swipes, her remarking two for the price of one, both of us stabbing her eyes to prevent Hene from seeing us. Eventually, we rolled under a tree, no longer able to run, whereas my body split apart again. The dark chains mocked me again, but formed a shield around us two that stops Hene from attacking and assaulting. The chains agree to help me and May if I form my friend into a scarecrow. Now I was at an uncomfortable position.
I said yes.
I watch as May becomes partial scarecrow, I was saddened with my decision but now the two of us were safe from harm...the chain inside me connects my head with my body again, and we watch as Hene tries to break our shield. As I saw May's finished result, I fell in love with her...it's almost like we were meant for each other. I wanted to ask her if we could be together, but I had to focus on getting Hene away. It is becoming harder as the shield is starting to break...
I run outside the shield, carrying May, the two of us descending the streets, away from Hene. She proves to be faster when I'm carrying my friend so I was forced to kick the goddess with all my life. She is immortal, but I keep damaging her eyes to blind her. We eventually run into a stone wall, but I use myself as a shield to defend my friend...then something happened. Hene fell down to the ground, returning to origin form, then loses her angelic parts and reveals herself to be nothing more than a mere girl. She sighs and remarks that this isn't the game she wants to play, she wanted to test her "Graveyard Theory" all this time...she opens a portal and convinces me to enter it, only for her to tell me I can't get out. I'm trapped in a red world now, away from my only friend and in a new world of horrors alone.
I sit near a tombstone and cry, only for May to follow me in and sit with me, her asking me if she could be with me for the rest of her life. I accept, and apologize for my general rudeness towards her, to which she replies that it's all right. We sit under the bloody setting, watch as the bats fly about, the candy on the ground leak blood, and the moon glows. The two of us sleep on the ground together, me wrapping her in my arms...it is a true form of love. It's not all over yet, though...I will receive news sometime soon, according to May. I have yet to find out what these news are.
May reveals to me that I received a personal invitation to a world beyond this one, from this guy known as Pierce Hazel. Remember how I was reading Split Personality? The guy apparently exists. He wants me to help him fight off a new evil...known as Fandraxono...and I was willing to accept. My friend May as well. But how the hell do we escape? No way out...
I rest upon my tombstone, May lighting up and revealing that there is one way out. We had to trick Hene into thinking that we love her...it will be somewhat tricky but it is possible. We just have to work hard at it. So, I looked up towards the sky, and start having a conversation.
"Hene." I say sternly.
"What?" she says back rudely.
"I wish I didn't do this." I say.
"You really shouldn't have." she grumbles.
"But you know what? I truly love you and want your ass."
"...You mean it?"
"Yeah!" I say with confidence.
"Okay, I'll let you back up...but not May." she says without blinking.
"But please...we both want to touch your ass."
"Okay..." she says cautiously.
I regretted saying those things, but she let us come back up. It was not tricky at all, fortunately. Immediately I murder her on the spot and form her into a scarecrow/human hybrid, turning her into one of us. She gives me the look of dismay and anger, but found no use in fighting and just sighs and goes with the flow, befriending us for real.
We go along the ground, now searching for Pierce Hazel. It's a definite better life from here, that's for sure.
Two weeks later, we go across the barren lands that I lived on, and move on into a city known as Dysnina. A boy in a purple cape sees us and approaches us, introducing himself as the Pierce Hazel I heard about. The two of us shake hands and walk into a bar and sit at a table, the four of us drinking away while discussing the topic of Fandraxono, the newest threat according to him. I was fairly nervous to face him, but I grew confident and decided to do whatever it takes to rid of him.
I walk outside the bar, take a deep breath, then sit on the ground, looking at the crimson red skies. It's over. I have a new life. No more abusement. Now to join with Pierce and defeat the threats he discussed with me, then disband from him and have my own adventures with May and Hene...perhaps...in the future...
However along the way, I looked back home, and told Pierce that...I should really defend Hynau, even though it was in a mangled state. He looked kind of bitter, but told me that if that's what I wanted, I should do that, and told me that he'll call on me again in the future. I watched him leave, and I looked at Hene. I had a huge smirk on my face...
~ The End ~
- Lurking in the Dark is incredibly infamous for Chapter nine, with the ass wanting sequence. However, Syi is speaking with sarcasm and doesn't really mean it, instead luring the antagonist to be her friend.
- Lurking in the Dark's story is heavily inspired by a Metallica song - Harvester of Sorrow.